by Tammy A. Phillips
Grandmommy always brought cheap soap; four bars in a bag for one dollar. I had only used it to wash my hands. One day I took a bath using the soap in the bag. The pain from itching was quick and severe. Immediately, I rinsed off, got out of the tub and complained, loudly.
“Grandmommy, why do you buy cheap soap? Mommy buys IVORY, and it never itches me. This cheap soap hurts.” While drying dishes, never looking at me, she said, “There is nothing wrong with the soap. You started rubbing and disturbed the dirt.”
Grandmommy’s soap reminds me of challenging commandments from the Word of God:
“…Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you… (God, I must do this for someone who lies to me?) Matthew 5:44
“Fret not thyself because of evil-doers…,” (God, I am struggling to pay my rent and devious people have overflowing bank accounts.) Proverbs 37:1a
Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. (My one favorite television show conflicts with a special service at my church.) Luke 9:23
“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.” (God, did you see what they did to me?) Matthew 6:14
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…” (I don’t know how; People will reject me.) Matthew 28:19
“Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (I’m not prejudice, but they are too different.) Hebrews 13:2
“Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals,” … (But God, D’s been my friend since forever.) I Corinthians 15:33
“Pray without ceasing.” (God, I’m tired; it seems like all of your answers are either NO or WAIT.) I Thessalonians 5:17
We love the Word of God. Psalms and Proverbs contain scriptures that sound, feel and taste good to us. The Old Testament stories are often entertaining. But, have we been glossing over the more challenging verses from the Major and Minor Prophets? Do we pick the verses in the Gospels and the Pauline Epistles that uplift our spirit while ignoring the rest? Do we breeze through Hebrews and The Book of Revelation? The mature and the honest will admit to picking IVORY soap over Grandmommy’s soap from time to time. It feels much better.
Sometimes a lighter touch is appropriate. We live in a devastatingly depressed world and encouragement to get through a day comes from the Word of God. God also sends sunshine after a sky-opening rain, friends and family to lift up our weary arms and songs that make us want to shout all day. But, it is important to remember that we cannot LIVE in the light touches of the scriptures if we want to continue to grow.
The Word of God in partnership with the Holy Spirit brings transformation in our lives. Who we were when we came to the Lord cannot be the people we are today no more than tenth graders should have the reading skills of first-graders. If these students do, then there is something critically wrong. High School students still reading at the elementary school level obviously spent too much time with “See spot run.” A steady diet of “Jesus died for me” will keep us happy, but will not help us grow. God’s precepts studied and obediently followed will.
So, we need to keep rubbing and disturbing all the contrary issues in our lives with the full Word of God. And honestly speaking, sometimes that more than itches.